DIY Leather Bucket Bag

So I mentioned during my last post that I had managed to make my very first leather bag. It took some serious tetris skills to try and piece together the parts to make a strap after squaring off two pieces to make the body of the bag.

Leather as most of you would know is super expensive, and not something I really felt the need to spurge on in the past. But lo-and-behold I couldn't help myself when I stumbled across a leather hide. Redcliffs is a country town in Victoria not far from Mildura, and they hold some pretty amazing Sunday markets, which is marked by the fact that without fail every time I visited it had two jumping castles! 

The Sunraysia Farmer's market is another local country market which featured fresh produce and a stall which made hot breakfast from the ingredients available at the market. These guys at the back are from the local Lion's club (I think) and were cooking bacon off the back of a ute!

I didn't think they were allowed to sell golliwogs anymore, well in any case I haven't seen them IRL, only on the cover of an old Enid Blyton book I have. 

So this leather hide was $10 from a local vintage shop at the Redcliffs markets and I bought it 'just in case'; which is why I have so many boxes of fabric, and am kind of wishing I bought more.

The leather was pretty easy to cut with a box cutter. The bag ended up a bit more rectangular than I would like, but I cut the maximum amount that I could out of what was available.This isn't as detailed as most of my tutorials, but the mood struck me, and my camera was being unhelpful, but this bag uses many techniques that I have shown on my blog before.

The bag I made was a lazy bucket bag, rather than the traditional one with the circular base as I wasn't sure my machine could handle it. The best part of using leather is that you don't need to finish the edges or line the bag necessarily, and given my laziness, I didn't find it necessary. 

In brief: 

1, 2. Cut your leather pieces. I had 2 x 15.5" x 12" rectangles. I used the remaining leather to make a 40" long by 2" wide bag strap and a 36" x 0.75" long drawstring 

3. Sew the two rectangles along both long sides and along one of the short sides. Box the corners by pinching a triangle 3" long. As per this wet bag tutorial.

 4. Using a leather hole punch you will need to punch 12 holes. The holes need to be punched at the following intervals from the side seam, about 1.5" from the top of the bag: 2", 3", 4.5", 7.5", 9", 10" and the same on the back of the bag. 

5. For the straps you need to fold the leather in half lengthwise and sew alongthe two raw edges. If similar to me you do not have enough leather you can join two opposing diagonal cuts of leather with a zigzag stitch, as shown in the top left corner on the shoulder strap. 

 6. The drawstring should be threaded through in the following way to ensure that the front centre drawstring can be tied. 

7. To finish the bag off you need to attach the straps. Same as the drawstring you need to fold the fabric in half lengthwise however this time I sewed both sides. I used rivets to attach the straps. I used two rivets at the front of the bag, and used two rivets at the back of the bag to balance the bag. I wasn't sure my rivets were long enough to go directly through the side seam. If you need help use this tutorial.

This is my attempt at setting up an impromptu photo shoot and Russell dutifully guarding my bag.I'm surprised he didn't try to chew the leather.

Happy Crafting! 

Salme Sonja Dress - the one meter dress

One of the first dresses I made was the Salme sleeveless pleat front dress and I was keen to try another salme dress pattern when I came across this very in style Salme Sonja Dress, which is free on burdastyle.The high neckline with halter-esk style generally shows a little too much off that unfortunate part of the body that showcase the junction of upper side boob/underarm flab, but I was able to alter the style to avoid too much lunch lady action.

The fabric is a cutain weight cotton sateen from Spotlight which I had bought in the hopes of turning it into an apron due to it's large print, but once home I realised the sheen of it was much better suited to a dress, alas with only one meter it makes for a very short, and somewhat tight dress.  

As with many other bloggers who made the Sonja dress I had to alter the bodice to fit. I cut a size 6 and next time I might have to grade at the waist. Due to only having a meter of fabric, I made a circle skirt of the remaining fabric. I also bagged and lined the dress as per this tutorial over at Sew Me Love (my go to tutorial for such things); which was a bit more difficult given the narrow straps of the bodice and the thin lining fabric but this is why I have a lone chopstick hanging around in my sewing tools. 

The only well fitting part of the sonja dress is the waist, which is more tight than well fitting.

The top and sides of the Sonja dress were quite loose and I had to take up the straps by an inch. 

The directional print of the fabric means I should've cut seperate pieces for the circle skirt but I couldn't squeeze it in - at least the front worked out well. 

All in all, this is a great summer staple dress pattern and I definitely would recommend it to others. 

Sneak peek of my next post, my very first leather bucket bag, which nearly killed my sewing machine.

Happy Crafting! 

Self drafted

Given that I'm such a fan of my self drafted pencil skirt, and my new flush of success with quick knit fabric dresses the next few items I've made have been self drafted. 

My tried and trued pencil skirt got a bit of an upgrade. I was convinced to use interfacing in my skirt waistband and I can say I now know what I've been missing all this time, it stops the waistband facing from rolling out and showing itself to the world. 

I also made the effort to line the skirt for a number of reasons, the fabric I chose I'm pretty sure is a quilting cotton from Thailand so it's a bit on the thin side and secondly it is so stinking hot that it's nice not to have all your clothes clinging to you. And I mean stinking hot in the nicest possible way, I'm getting a great tan. 

If you follow me on facebook you may have already seen this self drafted pencil skirt as well. It's a tulip print linen from Spotlight, or as Pruet has been calling it the Mario skirt, because the tulips looks like the ones you jump on to make him grow a size.

Given how keen I am on my pencil skirt I thought I'd try and draft a kimono sleeve top as it would be one pattern piece. I picked up this viscose fabric for under $4 at spotlight. I used this very clear tutorial over at Makery to make up my pattern.


I decided to give it some high-low action, and may have overdone it on the low action because when I wear it with shorts you can't tell from behind! It also doubles as simple work top for when I have not enough clean laundry (sadly more often than not). I finished the sleeves by using cuffs, following this tutorial over at It's Always Autumn.

The final self drafted item I've made is more of a cheats one. I finally got to be one of the bloggers who pulls a favourite RTW item from their closet and used it as a template to make a handmade copy cat version, ahhh the wonders of knit fabric. This is a nice thin knit from Super Cheap Fabrics, who I highly recommend.

This is a simple 3/4 sleeve shirt attached to a rectangular skirt with a piece of elastic sandwiched in the middle. I'm not too sure why I decided to cut the two seperately from each other, but the skirt was like 3 times the size of the top and the gathering part took ages but makes for a very twirl-y (?) skirt. 

I'm loving the whole self drafted thing and I reckon the next thing I'll try is a bodice. But for now I managed to pick up 5 simplicity patterns at $2 each at Spotlight so hopefully I'll start on one of the simple ones tomorrow. 

Happy Crafting! 

Brigitte Dress

I managed to find some time to take pictures of two different handmade items in my 'photo shoot' yesterday. Depressingly, I ended up changing from my point and shoot camera to the macbook webcam, clearly time to get a new camera. So excuse the medicore quality photos. 

If you follow my facebook page you might have seen by new self drafted skirt yesterday, and read about my secondment to a rural hospital. It's been quite the experience, the weather is warm always, and I'm learning heaps. I stayed at hospital until 4am last night to watch an ischaemic bowel surgery, which was definitely worth it; I won't go into the details because if most of you are like me, you are probably eating whilst you do your blog roll catch up. 

In my last blog post I recommended super cheap fabrics in Dandenong, and this is one of the $2.99 fabrics I picked up in my post night shift fabric splurge. I've always been very jeally (read jealous but wobbly with it) when other bloggers post about a dress they "whipped up", but now I've got access to good cheap jersey and knit fabrics, I completely understand this term now. 

I used the ponte de roma, paint type fabric for the free Simple Sew Brigitte dress pattern. 

This dress fits all my favourite qualities in a dress, it can be belted, which suits my body shape, but sans belt it is a nice loose muumuu type tent and I can eat as much as I like without being constricted. I used a trick I learnt from the Tessuti mandy boat tee to just fold over the neckline and stitch it down before joining the shoulder seams. No fancying facings or linings in this knit dress.

I cut a size ten, but given that this was a knit fabric, an eight would have worked better. I also elminated the back seam and darts. I narrowed the sleeves for a closer fit.

I added pockets too which is pretty standard for me. I did make sure to cut the pockets against the stretchy grain so I wouldn't end up with a suspicious looking bulge near my groin.


Would definitely recommend this pattern as a great addition to any wardrobe, a nice simple, basic shift.

Wrap pencil skirt

I can't believe how sunny it looks in these pictures of my wrap skirt, especially given that I'm under two lots of blankets trying to warm my freezing feet. 

The skirt initially started out as a wearable muslin of the McCalls 6744 wrap dress. I picked up the end few meters of a roll of some kind of animal print cotton sateen for $3 a meter whilst I was on my last medical student rotation up in Bendigo last year. It usually takes me a while to plan projects, but given how cheap the fabric was and how amazing Mimi G's version of the wrap dress was I though I'd give it a go. 

Mistake. Though I was able to salvage the cut pieces and make a wrap skirt. I curved the two pieces and made sure there was a full overlap to avoid any awkward flashing co-workers in the hospital moments. 

I used the back pattern piece of my self drafted pencil skirt and decided to try my hand at an exposed metal zipper as well. 

The fabric pattern is not something I'd usually wear as it's too cougar/fake tan/big boobs type of print, but it's not too bad toned down. The only thing I couldn't figure out was how to add pockets to a wrap skirt, which means it was great on my last rotation where I was based on one ward but for my next rotation I'll be hopping between wards and much stairs so I doubt it'll get much wear. 

So I had mostly given up on M6744, until I stumbled upon one of the best hidden Melbourne fabric finds. After deciding I couldn't stand peak hour traffic on the Monash freeway city bound, especially after a long night shift so I decided to stop by at Dandenong Plaza, unsure of what to expect, but definitely least of all of a fabric shop, aptly named Super Cheap Fabrics. Everything was under $3.99, and is the cheapest I've seen knit fabric, which means I can finally be one of those sewist who can copy their favourite RTW clothes just like Liz from Cotton and Curls. I picked up some lightweight jersey, ponte knit and lining fabrics, and the new shop assistant uploads the new fabrics onto Facebook. When I went last they had a moving sign, but they'll be opposite Dimmey's in Dandenong. 

I also picked up 12 of these 10L plastic boxes from Masters for $30 and rather embarrassingly managed to fill up about 8 of them with fabric, with another two 52L bins of fabric stashed away as well. 

If you're in the area, or even if you're not it's definitely worth the trip to pick up some great fabric. I've made two knit dresses in the past two days and am super impressed with the fabric. 

Happy Crafting!